Stay up-to-date with our progress. Diary 4: Balancing the Power

How much power does it take to beat the world land speed record? When my dad ran the Challenger II in 1968, he had roughly 1800 horsepower at his disposal. The car had a supercharged 427 Ford SOHC in the rear and a second fuel injected SOHC in the front. The power output of the engines was not balanced, so he stabilized it manually by rolling his toe back and forth over a split gas pedal. 

He was forced to perform that foot-operated witchcraft because the low slung driver’s compartment meant that that there was no space for a front blower. That hasn’t changed, but we’ve decided to fuel inject both engines in the updated car in order to balance power output. We’re using dual billet aluminum Hemi dry blocks running on 50% nitromethane. They are modified versions of what you see in top fuel dragsters, and will produce roughly 2000 horsepower each. That should give us more than twice the power output of the original Challenger II. 

If you’re not familiar with dry blocks, they don’t require radiators or a water system. All of the cooling is provided by the massive amounts of fuel flowing to the engine. In our case, approximately 10 gallons of alcohol and nitro per mile. The hardest part of this project is working within the confines of the existing space, so being able to eliminate those components was a big advantage. 

Still, packaging is a major challenge. We had to fabricate a special low profile intake manifold for the front engine to maintain cockpit visibility, while moving the throttle bodies out in front over the clutch can. Then comes the fuel system, oil system and all the plumbing that goes with it. 

Jerry Darien is supervising our engine combination and is working with RC Performance on the build. The rear engine is being assembled this week, with the front engine to follow shortly. Thanks for following along. See you next week.